In a match-up between the second-place team and second-to-last-place team, the St. Francis High boys stunned St. Ignatius in the opening round of the West Catholic Athletic League boys basketball playoffs.
The visiting Lancers not only won – they won big. St. Francis doubled up the Crusaders, 64-32.
Coach Steve Filios said last week's game ranks as perhaps the Lancers' best win of the season. It's the first time his squad has advanced beyond the first round of the league playoffs since 2002.
St. Francis entered the Feb. 12 game with a 2-12 record in the WCAL, while St. Ignatius was 8-6. But the Lancers (14-12 overall) played the Crusaders (17-9) close in two earlier games, losing to them in overtime at home and by five points on the road.
This time, St. Francis took control early and never relinquished it.
Up 14-12 after the first quarter, the Lancers pulled away in the second with an 18-5 run. The lead grew to 46-25 at the end of the third and they capped the game with an 18-7 spurt.
"We missed some layups and putbacks early," Filios said. "Then all of a sudden, we made some shots – including 3s – and got into a rhythm, and we got some second chances."
The Lancers finished with eight 3-pointers. Omar Bourgoub scored 17 points to pace St. Francis. Shawn Grant added 12 points and Carter Lyman eight.
"Omar had a nice game," Filios said. "(The scoring) was really balanced, with a lot of players contributing. People did their jobs well, sharing the ball and rebounding."
St. Francis was scheduled to face top seed Mitty in Friday's semifinals. Win or lose, the Lancers were sure to earn a berth in the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs that began this week.
"We're hoping to get a high seed, which should give us a good shot to get to Foothill (College for the quarterfinals)," Filios said.
Eagles close in on title
A 60-52 victory at Monta Vista Feb. 13 put Los Altos on the verge of winning the SCVAL El Camino Division championship.
The Eagles (9-2 division) needed to beat visiting Wilcox in Friday's regular-season finale to win the title, or at least share it with Lynbrook (9-2).
Los Altos jumped to a 23-12 first-quarter advantage against Monta Vista and led 36-23 at halftime.
"We got off to an excellent start and shared the ball as well as we have all year," Eagles coach James Reilly said. "We had several easy buckets against their press and really played unselfish team ball."
The Matadors rallied in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 44-39 by the end of it. The Eagles fended them off in the fourth, thanks to a 16-13 run.
"(Monta Vista) made a good second-half run and hit several difficult shots; they deserve credit for coming back to make it a 3-point game at one point," Reilly said. "However, I'm thrilled with the way we kept our composure and executed down the stretch. We hit free throws and took care of the ball in the final minutes."
The Wells brothers led Los Altos (17-8 overall) in scoring, with Spencer contributing 14 points and Sean 12.
Center Derek Halliwell added 10 points in what was "one of his career-best games," Reilly said. "I'm extremely proud of him. He did everything we asked of him and really blossomed out there tonight into an interior force."